I’ve changed. I don’t know exactly when it happened. Sometime between baby #1 and yesterday. I realized it the other day when a dad came to the pool with his kids and the lessons were 15 minutes off-schedule. He was rather upset because it was going to throw off the rest of his morning. He kept saying to himself, “C’mon, just let it go.” He looked at me and asked, “I need to just let it go, don’t I?” My reply? “Absolutely. It’s summertime and we’re only 15 minutes off. Everything will be fine.”
He didn’t appreciate my lazy, summer-y attitude and walked away with a huff.
My husband could relate. He lives in the world of keeping up with the hours and planning meetings and needing to be on time and stressing when he’s not and feeling offended when others are late. I haven’t lived there in a very long time.
If you’ve been reading here for a while, then you’ll remember that I confessed to being a scheduler for most of my life, that fifteen years ago I would have responded much like the dad at the pool. But a few years ago I became what I’m calling a “routine-er.” We no long hold rigidly to a schedule; we follow a routine.
That’s going to have to change this year. And I feel anxious just thinking about going back, re-entering that world. But I have realized that it must be done.
Because almost every area of my life has suffered from my lack of time management. Following a routine is good for lots of people, but I have gotten less done as a routine-er. Now that all four of my kids are school-aged, I have to stop following the same routine. Our routine won’t be strong enough to help me achieve what we need to do this next year. Based on last year’s experience, my quality assurance meter indicates that it’s time to make a schedule and stick to it.
On a more personal note, I have three books that want out of my head. My options are (a) send the children to public school and write all day, (b) home school with our routine and never find the time to write, or (c) stick firmly to a schedule.
I choose C.
The problem I’ve had is finding a planner that meets all of my needs. I need something to help me keep the housekeeping, our school schedule, extra-curricular schedule, meal plans and grocery lists in order. I considered creating my own and putting it in a binder, but quickly realized that it would be too big to carry around everywhere.
A few days later, I came upon a new planner in The Home Educating Family Magazine. This is the first year of its publication and it has everything in that I might need to plan our life. It’s called The Well-Planned Day. With this planner, I can
- Organize and Plan for up to 4 children in one convenient book.
- Schedule each student’s class assignments.
- Organize my week with class assignments, weekly priorities, prayer requests, dinner menu, and notes.
- Track each day by the hour.
- Plan field trips, enrichment activities and books to read
- Keep track of semester attendance & Progress Reports
- Create Transcript Evaluation Forms and Perforated Report Cards
- Plan weekly meals and use perforated shopping lists.
- Organize our family worship & prayer so that we read through the Bible in a year and record prayer requests.
- Read insightful homeschool articles and tips to inspire me throughout the year.
A full-screen flipbook preview is available if you want to see it. I can’t wait to get this thing in the mail!
Another resource I’ve used is the Motivated Moms chore planning system. It helps me keep up with little things that I wouldn’t think about doing on a regular basis, like sweeping the front walkway. Now, just because it’s on the list for that day doesn’t mean that I do it; I delegate it to one of the kids. It has an area for a schedule, an area for meal planning, a long list of daily chores, and a short list of specific chores for each day.
I’m praying that between the two I’ll be able to accomplish all that I need to and want to.
Finally, have you read Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed? I reviewed it for DR around this time in 2007. The authors say,
we can actually do all that God has called us to do…A fantastic claim, we know. But it’s true. We can accomplish everything God has ordained for us to do in this life. (Hint: It’s probably not half of what’s on your to-do list.) And we can do it in a peaceful, joyful manner and get sufficient rest besides.
I need to read that book again. If you’d like to read it, check out these online retailers:
(Originally posted 12/13/06)